9Rush programmers has opted for a significant change in 2023, leading to continued speculation that the Discovery content may be shifting elsewhere.
In late November 2022, Zoe Samios and Nick Bonyhady reported HERE in the Sydney Morning Herald that executives from Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) were flying in to Sydney to discuss their output deal arrangement which covers the Discovery content on 9Rush. The deal is set to expire at the end of this year and WBD do have the option of going it alone and launching their own streaming service in Australia, which would all but shut down the 9Rush multi channel.
Nine has told TV Central that there has been no change to the WBD agreement for 9Rush for the remainder of the contract. A Nine spokesperson told the SMH back in November, “we don’t speak about specific discussions but we are always interested in great content for our business.”
With the ratings season upon us, Nine has plenty of content under the existing deal to play including the latest seasons of Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings, Naked and Afraid, Deadliest Catch: Bloodline, Fastest Cars in the Dirty South, Expedition X, Dual Survivor, Build it Bigger, Naked and Afraid XL, Through the Wormhole, Yukon Men, Treehouse Masters, Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail, Dallas Car Sharks, Guardians of the Glades, Dino Hunters, Alaskan Bush People, Street Outlaws: Memphis, Iron Resurrection, The Alaskan Triangle, Aussie Snake Wranglers, Ed Stafford: First Man Out and UFO Witness.
Aside from this new content, 9Rush has the cancelled Extreme Car Hoarders and Twin Turbos to play out and at least 5 shows that were pulled prematurely before their seasons was able to finish.
Instead of airing all this new content, Nine programmers have instead filled the primetime line-up with no less than 7 cancelled series – Ancient Unexplained Files, Hunting Atlantis, The Auto Firm with Alexa Vega, Expedition on the Edge, Ice Lake Rebels, Storm Chasers and Flying Wild Alaska. There is also three series that are awaiting renewal, so they could very well be cancelled – Street Outlaws: Fastest in America, How the Universe Works and Alaska: The Last Frontier. A further two programs are airing new episodes but these are very back catalogue of old episodes with Gold Rush and Dave Turin’s Lost Mine.
Only six programs in the schedule (Secrets Skinwalker Ranch, Bering Sea Gold, Kindig Customs, Police Interceptors, Where the Wild Men Are and Mysteries at the Museum) could be considered fresh on going content. The rest of the schedule is full of repeats.
This is a sizeable shift from programming seen in the past, where almost all 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 slots were filled with new content and sometimes even 10:30 slots were filled with fresh programming.
Is this a cost cutting exercise so that per hour expenditure is lower? Do Nine have a whiff that their deal will not be renewed and and are not giving the major WBD series more exposure?
This is in stark contrast to 9Life with 14 shows on air, with only 2 of the series cancelled. 9Life has only 8 series sitting on the shelf that have more than 1 season available (compared to 18 for 9Rush). The other 17 shows in 9Life’s library are current seasons of shows airing in America or UK and are expected over the course of 2023.